Colin Smyth MSP
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has renewed calls for TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast to lose their rail franchise, after it was revealed services from Lockerbie Station won’t be covered in the Scottish Government’s plans to remove peak fares.
Speaking during topical question time with the Transport Minister in the Scottish Parliament last week, Colin Smyth said Lockerbie passengers shouldn’t be treated as second class just because ScotRail chooses not to run services from the station.
Colin Smyth said: “I hope that, in her representations, Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth will back my calls for TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast to lose that franchise, which, frankly, is a failed one.
“Last month, I asked the minister whether the plans to remove peak fares would cover all routes in Scotland. She said yes.
“Lockerbie might be a ScotRail station but, as we know, the services are provided by TransPennine and Avanti.
“Is the minister raising that issue in the discussions that she is having with those companies to ensure that passengers who go from one Scottish station to another, irrespective of who delivers those services, also benefit from the removal of peak fares?
“Passengers from Lockerbie should not be treated as second class just because, at the moment, ScotRail chooses not to run services from there.”
In response, Jenny Gilruth said: “I recognise Colin Smyth’s observations. The peak fares promotion that will be forthcoming in the coming months will apply to ScotRail services. I do not have responsibility for the services in question, which sit outwith the Scottish Government’s control. I am more than happy to raise such matters directly with the train operating companies and directly with the UK Government.”
Speaking after the session, Colin Smyth added: “It is very disappointing to hear confirmation that Lockerbie passengers won’t benefit from the removal of peak time rail fares.
“Those travelling from Lockerbie are now facing the continuation of peak time ticket prices, which will also be increasing due to the UK Government increasing fares in England.
“People across the country are facing a cost of living crisis and once again passengers from Lockerbie are being treated as second class.
“Passengers are already dealing with near constant delays and short term cancellations, and from the spring, costs will go through the roof.”